Home / Author Archives: Krista Franks Brock (page 28)

Author Archives: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.

Fannie Mae: Market Will Take Five More Years to Adjust

We are five years through a 10-year adjustment process, Fannie Mae's chief economist Doug Duncan told attendees at the Five Star MPact Mortgage Banking Conference and Expo Tuesday morning. Dodd-Frank has 300 rules that must be implemented in the market. Regulators are only halfway through that list so far; the second half will be enacted over the next couple of years. While the market will recover, Duncan stressed that it will take time to adjust to new regulations.

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Fraud Schemes Adapt to Evolving Market Environment

While the government has recently enhanced its efforts to fight mortgage modification scams, mortgage fraud remains a prevalent issue throughout the industry. According to Jenny Brawley, associate director of mortgage fraud investigations for Freddie Mac, three elements drive mortgage fraud schemes: pressure, opportunity, and rationalization. The FBI characterizes mortgage fraud schemes as ""particularly resilient"" and credits them with being able to adapt to economic changes and modifications in lending practices.

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Analysts: Market Recovery On the Horizon But Will Vary by Location

With about 800,000 REOs and about 1 million properties in some stage of default, it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, that is just what a group of four analysts tried to do at a panel session Monday during the Five Star MPact Mortgage Banking Conference and Expo. Rick Sharga of Carrington Mortgage Holdings noted that in every previous recession, housing has brought us out, but in this recession, it dragged us in. As a result, he says, recovery this time will be a bit different.

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OCC Investigates Foreclosures of 5,000 Military Members

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has launched an investigation into the possible wrongful foreclosures of about 5,000 military members by 10 of the nation's largest banks. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), signed into law in 2003, protects military members from foreclosure while on active duty. Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina is calling for officials to pursue criminal charges should SCRA violations be substantiated.

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Federal Agencies Fight Modification Scams

Three government agencies are combining efforts to address mortgage modification scams through a joint task force. With the announcement of the task force, the participating agencies -- the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Treasury Department -- released a consumer fraud alert to ensure homeowners understand that only their mortgage servicer has discretion to grant a loan modification.

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GSEs Announce Eviction Moratorium for the Holidays

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced temporary eviction moratoriums on all single-family homes and two-to-four unit properties over the holidays. Both companies will enforce the moratorium from December 19 through January 2. The suspension will not affect the pre- or post-foreclosure processes. Servicers may continue the administrative processes involved in foreclosures, but evictions will be delayed until after the start of the new year.

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California Activists Call for Foreclosure Moratorium

Two California divisions of the Occupy Wall Street movement -- Occupy LA and Occupy Santa Cruz -- are beginning to focus their efforts on halting foreclosures. Mario Brito, leader of Occupy LA, announced a plan this week to pressure both banks and government officials to impose a foreclosure moratorium. Also this week, Occupy Santa Cruz sent a letter to its County Board of Supervisors calling on board members to invoke a foreclosure moratorium and set up a task force to study foreclosure practices.

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Congress Calls for Principal Reductions from GSEs

Twenty-one members of Congress sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Edward DeMarco calling on him to allow - even encourage - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to start reducing principal balances for distressed homeowners. The lawmakers say underwater borrowers pose a greater risk of eventual default. They're advocating for principal writedowns, not ""as a kindness to homeowners,"" but to save taxpayers from future losses.

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Pending Sales Increase May Point to Budding Market Recovery

The National Association of Realtors' (NAR) pending home sales index reported strong positive movement over the month of October, rising 10.4 percent from September. The index, which measures sales contracts but not closings, is also 9.2 percent above its rate a year ago. NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun says the market volatility inflicted by the homebuyer tax credit last year is now past. Thus, the monthly and year-over-year increase in sales contracts is a positive indication for the market.

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Inspector General Points Out FHFA Shortcomings

The Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA-OIG) submitted its semiannual report to Congress reviewing FHFA's actions from April 2011 through September 2011. The FHFA-OIG pointed out several positive developments over the six-month period, including an elimination of the ""golden parachute"" compensation packages often offered to terminated GSE executives. However, these were balanced by a list of areas in need of improvement, most notably that FHFA does not conduct its own reviews of critical operations.

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